Spain: Proposed law on whistleblowing and corruption "perverse, megalomaniacal and authoritarian"

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Proposed law on whistleblowing and corruption is "perverse, megalomaniacal and authoritarian"
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A draft whistleblower protection and anti-corruption measure in Spain has been condemned as "a perverse proposal of megalomaniac and antiquated authoritarianism" by civil rights organisation Xnet, who have said that it would create a new organisation able to investigate "any person without any guarantees of legal protection and with no oversight from any system of checks and balances."

See: STASI is Back: Xnet condemns serious dangers for Civil Rights in the Draft Law against Corruption and for Whistle-blower Protection now presented in the Spanish Parliament (Xnet, link, emphasis in original):

"The proposal presented by the party Ciudadanos wants... to create an all-powerful organism supported by the “coercive fines it imposes and sanctions within its jurisdiction”. This institution would be exclusively run by high-level officials with absolute power to investigate, monitor and pursue any person without any guarantees of legal protection and with no oversight from any system of checks and balances.

As for the whistle-blower protection announced in the title, this is restricted to public servants and public office holders. Ordinary citizens are in danger of suffering reprisals. Moreover, the private sector is not included, although investigations frequently start here. We are well aware of this because it was by means of the “Blesa emails” that Xnet drew the public’s attention to the Bankia case.

Furthermore, whistle-blowers are explicitly denied anonymity when they denounce corrupt practices, and this makes them still more vulnerable. Yet anonymity is the only real protection that a whistle-blower can be offered, and it is also recognised as the just and necessary channel for prosecution procedures in Spain and organisations like the United Nations.

...And, as if all this were not enough, the draft law introduces elements of political persecution by creating lists of whistle-blowers, which means opening files on them and stigmatising them in perpetuity, adding elements that are entirely unrelated with corruption. These include notions like disrespect for the constitution or sedition, astutely camouflaged among well-known words like “terrorism”. These files are to be kept by the proposed organism."

See also: a speech by Xnet at a recent roundtable on whistleblower protection hosted by the Greens/EFA parliamentary group: For a Europe-Wide Regulation on Protection of Whistleblowers Reporting Corruption and Malpractice (Xnet, link)

Further information: Whistleblower protection in Europe (Greens/EFA, link) and: European Commission: Public consultation on whistleblower protection (link)

See the proposed new law (in Spanish): Proposición de Ley Integral de Lucha contra la Corrupción y Protección de los Denunciantes (pdf)

See also

Council Presidency seeks Member States' views on whistleblower protection(Statewatch News Online, 30 March 2017)

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